Hundreds of other men and women of color who lost their lives as a result of interactions with police in the 12 months since George Floyd's death have demonstrated the urgency of a social justice movement targeting police reform and systemic racism, reported USA Today on Sunday.
Black man Floyd died on May 25, 2020, after being restrained for more than 9 minutes by Derek Chauvin, a white former police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota, now a convicted murderer.
While many Americans shouted Floyd's name in the wake of his killing, fewer know the names of those who have died since -- in 2020, 1,127 people were killed by police, according to data collected by Mapping Police Violence, a research collaborative that uses a variety of state and regional databases to determine the number and nature of most but not all police-involved deaths.
According to the data, just under 50 percent of those killed were white people, a demographic that accounts for 68 percent of the nation's 330 million residents. In contrast, as COVID-19 disproportionately killed people of color, Black people represented 27 percent of all police deaths last year, although they are 13 percent of the population.
Latinos comprised 21 percent of those killed and are 17 percent of the population. The database does not break out police deaths of Asian Americans and Native Americans.
USA Today's reporters interviewed four American families, who, by sharing stories of outrage and grief, hoped bringing greater visibility to their cases might reform a police system that disproportionately harms people of color.
"In some of the cases, officers face murder charges. In others, their actions have been deemed within the law. In every case, family members say their loved ones did not deserve to die. They vow to pursue accountability so that others can be spared the same fate," said the report.
Law enforcement supporters said that while some reforms are necessary, citizens should not discount the value of quality policing and the relative infrequency of excessive use of force.
Justice Department statistics for 2018 show that of some 61 million people older than 16 who had at least one contact with police, 1 percent had a gun pointed at them, said Jim Burch, president of the National Police Foundation, a non-profit focused on improving policing.
"While no one can deny that excessive force is a problem and in 2020 we saw this first-hand with the murder of George Floyd and the deaths of others, the majority of officers encounter the public every day without the use of force and in response to requests for their assistance," Burch was quoted as saying.